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MOSCOW, October 20. /TASS/. An inspection commission from the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) highly assessed two football stadiums in the Russian capital prepared to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
A joint delegation of FIFA representatives and Russia’s Local Organizing Committee are inspecting on October 16-23 the construction and the state of readiness of Russian stadiums, which were selected to host the World Cup matches in 2018.
Moscow has two stadiums to be the venue for the global football championship in less than four years. They are the recently-built Otkritie-Arena, which opened on September 5, and Moscow’s old Luzhniki Arena, which is currently under reconstruction and is intended, according to the organizers, to host the final match of the 2018 World Cup.
Christian Unger, the head of FIFA 2018 football championship preparation department, said the commission was satisfied with both stadiums in Moscow.
The construction of the Otkritie-Arena began in 2010 with an estimated cost of 14.5 billion rubles (over $402 million). The 42,000-seat stadium occupies an area of 53,758 square meters (13.2 acres) and is almost 53 meters (174 feet) high.
The official opening of the Otkritie-Arena in the north-st of the Russian capital was held on September 5, when Spartak FC played its inaugural home match against Serbian FC Crvena Zvezda. The first match of the international level was played at the Okritie-Arena on October 12, when Rusia played against Moldova in a qualifier for the UEFA Euro Cup 2016 in France.
The new stadium was constructed solely for legendary Spartak FC, which throughout its almost one century-long history was 12-time USSR champion, nine-time Russia champion and holder of other numerous titles and trophies, but had until recently no stadium of its own to play home matches.
Reconstruction works at the Luzhniki Arena were launched in the fall of 2013, and after the works are completed the stadium will boost the spectators capacity of 81,000 seats.
This is the first large-scale visit of FIFA evaluation commission to inspect the readiness of the Russian cities for the 2018 World Cup, and seven more similar inspections were planned before the launch of the world championship.
According to the FIFA official website, the current joint delegation includes 40 experts “in the areas of designing and building stadiums, preparing and operating competitions, security, transport, logistics, hospitality services, broadcasting, media operations, medical control, staff performance, and marketing and ticketing programs.”
Last Thursday the delegation began its visit to Russia with the inspection of the currently under-construction stadium in St. Petersburg, moving on Friday to Kazan on the Volga River to see the Kazan-Arena, then on Saturday to Sochi to evaluate the Fisht Stadium and on Sunday and Monday visiting the Otkritie-Arena and Luzhniki-Arena respectively.
Between October 21 and 23, the delegation will be presented with a virtual tour across the remaining Russian stadiums, selected to host the championship’s matches.
Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup less than four years ago in a tight race against the joint bid from England, Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.
In 2012, Russia announced the total allocated budget of 664.1 billion rubles for the organization of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in August that the number of 12 stadiums in a total of 11 cities selected to host the World Cup would not be changed. The Russian president said, however, that in terms of financial spending on the World Cup preparations for Russia would be an “uneasy story,” but manageable.
Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.